And while I had some problems with the Times' iEconomy series, they're incredibly important pieces of reporting, mapping out the relations between consumer desire, Apple, the state of jobs and education in this country, and the global manufacturing economy. Why can't Apple make the iPhone in the US? Well it turns out there are very good reasons for that. There are two staggering anecdotes in there:
"Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple's executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company's analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States. In China, it took 15 days."
"A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company's dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day." —MB